13. Eki 05. Kas 23

“Noumenon” The Appearance Beyond

In recent years, Ertuğrul Berberoğlu became an important representative of contemporary abstract painting. His oeuvre goes beyond traditional matters and working methods for positively contributing to the renewal of today’s abstract art. Different from classic notions of formalism and autonomy, the artist merges autobiographical links with socio-cultural references for expressing his ideas about his own life and the world around him. In Berberoğlu’s oeuvre, the individual and the social as well as the subjective and the universal get merged for revealing the interconnection between the private and the public. From in-between the many layers of bride colors and from the grounds of the numerous grooves that construct his complex compositions, autobiographical hints and social references can be discovered.

The exhibition “Noumenon” The Appearance Beyond at Eart Gallery, displays a selection of Ertuğrul Berberoğlu’s latest works for presenting the current aesthetic state and the intellectual base of his oeuvre. Its conceptual framework and the philosophical ground of the displayed pieces are based on the artist’s interpretation of Immanuel Kant’s concept of pure reason. Interrelating the concepts of rationalism, and empiricism, the prominent German philosopher exposed in his groundbreaking book “Critique of Pure Reason” (1781) that any understanding of the world is fundamentally depending on specific ideas that a priori precede experience, and which a posteriori is gained through the senses. In his tractate, Kant indicates a third way that goes beyond rationalistic and empirical insights into reality for proposing an alternative idea of reason called Transcendental Idealism. This concept can function as reference for understanding Berbeoğlu’s displayed pieces, as they also aim at exposing knowledge of the external world. Though not philosophy but art, and not written words but painted works are used by him for expressing the artistic ideas of going beyond the known.

Following Kant’s philosophy of transcendental idealism, which discusses the interrelation between objects and their form of appearance, Ertuğrul Berberoğlu has found an artistic approach that builds bridges between the representation of things and the being of things in themselves. This is the reason why the artist’s current works mingle the ideas of individuality with universality for revealing the relation between objective and subjective knowledge, where rationalism is combined with sensitivity.

“Noumenon” The Appearance Beyond exposes Berberoğlu’s fascinating oeuvre and its complex conceptual and aesthetically appealing matters. Besides his artistic interpretation of Kant’s concepts of reason, the selection of artworks reveals the artist’s sophisticated and experimental play with painterly materials, impressive textures, and overwhelming color scales.

Ertuğrul Berberoğlu never uses representation, figuration, or symbolism for the communication of his conceptual framework. Instead, bride colors, and stark visual contrasts as well as strong lyrical and organic textures refer to his painterly and philosophical ideas. Also, his combination of traditional materials like oil paint with unorthodox supplies like plastic foil gives his works a unique aesthetic that causes a sophisticated psycho-visual impact on the viewer. As Berberoğlu removes all figurative representation, and as he erases all unnecessary painterly elements that would only serve the decorative appearance, he reveals the essence of art and life.

In the end, his aesthetically appealing way of designing and structuring his highly dynamic compositions points to the fact that his oeuvre is authentic, experimental, and innovative. As his current works stand at the threshold between painting, relief, and sculpture, he proves the value of eclecticism, pluralism, and heterogeneity in today’s art.

By striving beyond the limits of the two-dimensionality of the flat canvas surface, he creates a three-dimensionality known from the art of relief. Still, as his works are strongly related to painting, the artist never totally neglects its roots and character. Nevertheless, this interrelation of painting and relief, gives his oeuvre a transdisciplinary character. It also sets his works right into the center of today’s discussions about the present meaning and future possibilities of abstract art.

Ertuğrul Berberoğlu’s oeuvre reaches beyond the classic limits of painting for finding meaningful ways to create abstract art that is not superficially ornamented but intellectually challenging and aesthetically complex. His interpretation of Kant’s philosophy and his oeuvre’s multilayered aesthetic refer to the complex state of today’s society as well as to the difficulty of understanding the world and the nature of the human existence.


Marcus Graf